The sound of a leaky faucet can be one the most aggravating and insidious distractions one can experience. If forced to listen to it for any length of time it can be quite overwhelming as horror movies have explicitly detailed. Worse yet a leaky faucet can also be expensive to fix unless the homeowner decides to make it a “do-it-yourself” job.

Even if one has never done it before fixing a leaking faucet is a fairly easy uncomplicated job which could cost as little as a dollar or the price of an O-Ring, a small rubber which is placed in or around a pipe fixture to stop the flow of water or any other liquid. O-Rings are generally the first thing in a faucet to begin failing and they fail precisely because they are made of rubber.

After making certain that O-Rings are available to fix the leak, the next step is to turn off the water going into the leaky faucet. Ordinarily a couple of shut off valves can be found under the sink or near the tub that is leaking. Turn both of the valves all the way off. If there are no turn off valves near or under the skin or tub then the water coming into the house needs to be turned off. If this is the case the water main needs be found and the easiest way to do that is to find the water meter and within a few feet of the meter there will be a pipe from the water main coming out of the floor or wall. The valves to turn off the water which is coming into the house will be within a few feet of the incoming main water line pipe or the valves may be behind or right under a sink or near the shower.

After making sure that the water is off turn on both the cold and hot water faucets and let them run until the water stops. This will release all the pressure within the system. Next look at the faucet handles, find the screw, unscrew it and the faucet handle should easily come off. The stem will then become visible and using an octagon or a pair of pliers turn and twist the nut. Be sure to have a good grip on the octagon or pliers to avoid stripping the nut, particularly if the nut is brass.

Take out the stem and notice if the black rubber washer or gasket on the bottom of the stem is cracked or in any way deformed. If it is either cracked or deformed then this is where the seal has gone bad and the water is leaking through. Unscrew the stems from the gasket and take the gasket out. Then, if necessary, take the gasket to any home improvement store and buy a matching new one. It probably would be a good idea to fix the other side of the faucet at the same time because both faucets have been used for the same length of time and chances are the other faucet will be leaking soon.

Maintaining every aspect of water in the home is important because water leaks not only lead to water damage in the home, they can also be the source of a hazardous growing toxic mold. Simple regular maintenance measures can be performed to keep the family safe and the integrity of the home intact. Faucets in the kitchen and bathroom sinks should be checked regularly as well as the plumbing under the cabinetry which will quickly show evidence of a leak. Regularly checking the common causes of water leaks in a home can prevent dangerous mold growth and physical damage to the home before either begins. The bottom line is that the easiest way to stop a leaky faucet is to prevent it.


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